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The Very Last Castle

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A curious little girl watches the man who guards the last castle in town. Every time she passes by him, she tries to catch his eye. While the other townspeople fear what may be locked up inside the mysterious castle, the girl finally gets up the courage to knock on the door and find out what’s really behind the gate. A story about overcoming fear of the unknown, trying new A curious little girl watches the man who guards the last castle in town. Every time she passes by him, she tries to catch his eye. While the other townspeople fear what may be locked up inside the mysterious castle, the girl finally gets up the courage to knock on the door and find out what’s really behind the gate. A story about overcoming fear of the unknown, trying new things, and reaching out to make new friends, The Very Last Castle shows that bravery comes in packages both big and small.


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A curious little girl watches the man who guards the last castle in town. Every time she passes by him, she tries to catch his eye. While the other townspeople fear what may be locked up inside the mysterious castle, the girl finally gets up the courage to knock on the door and find out what’s really behind the gate. A story about overcoming fear of the unknown, trying new A curious little girl watches the man who guards the last castle in town. Every time she passes by him, she tries to catch his eye. While the other townspeople fear what may be locked up inside the mysterious castle, the girl finally gets up the courage to knock on the door and find out what’s really behind the gate. A story about overcoming fear of the unknown, trying new things, and reaching out to make new friends, The Very Last Castle shows that bravery comes in packages both big and small.

30 review for The Very Last Castle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    DAAAAAWWWWW!!!!! I love the gentle colors, the sweet story and the artwork. 5, sweet, yet also slightly sad, stars. A good story about reaching out and in.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    What is making all those spooky sounds coming out of the Very Last Castle? Who will be brave enough to find out? A little story about a girl who dares to find out what's going on, despite the worries of her neighbors. Lovely illustrations and a gentle story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Benji Martin

    So what do you do when someone you're kinda friends with writes a terrible book, and you don't know how to tell them? You just smile and say "FIVE STARS!" I'm just kidding. This one really is terrific. It's a great read aloud, and would pair really well with The Wall in the Middle of the Book. ps. I really liked the ginormous apples!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Garland

    This book will get you thinking about what a little curiosity & kindness can do.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    4.5. 5 stars for the art, 4 stars for the story. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Niki (Daydream Reader)

    I can't wait to share this book in the fall with my students!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Colby Sharp

    One of my favorite 2018 picture books to read aloud to kids! Check out my video book talk. https://youtu.be/QsDbmLcj-jw

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Predictable but pleasant. Nice to have a POC protagonist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beth Rodgers

    'The Very Last Castle' by Travis Jonker, pictures by Mark Pett, has a Willy Wonka feel to it. The book centers on the very last castle that stands in the middle of a small town. No one ever comes out of it, and no one ever goes in, yet a man stands guard, bringing a decent amount of curiosity to interested passersby. Yet one little girl named Ibb is the only one who truly begins to question the castle and the mystery that surrounds its walls. Everybody speculates as to what is inside, as people 'The Very Last Castle' by Travis Jonker, pictures by Mark Pett, has a Willy Wonka feel to it. The book centers on the very last castle that stands in the middle of a small town. No one ever comes out of it, and no one ever goes in, yet a man stands guard, bringing a decent amount of curiosity to interested passersby. Yet one little girl named Ibb is the only one who truly begins to question the castle and the mystery that surrounds its walls. Everybody speculates as to what is inside, as people are wont to do when they don't know about or understanding something well. Everybody would much rather think the worst than learn what truly is going on and how they might be able to take part in learning more. When Ibb decides to enter the castle's walls and discover the truth, she finds that perception is an interesting thing. The guard is taking care of the castle, making sure it is treated well, and Ibb, despite being a little girl who probably should not wander off on her own into mostly abandoned castles, finds that the truth she was looking for has led her into an unexpected friendship with the guard. As she joins him in exploring the castle grounds, he reveals his wish for the castle, and Ibb helps him see that it is possible in ways he had never considered. A sweet story that is made even better through the themes of friendship, curiosity, and truth, 'The Very Last Castle' is a lovely tale with colorful illustrations that only enhance the storytelling. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen' and 'Sweet Fifteen,' Young Adult Novels *Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina Carter

    Book Excursion ARC Review| Book Releases October 9th, 2018 There are instances when curiosity requires bravery. Considering that the townspeople thought the lone castle in the center of town held monsters, giants, and snakes, Ibb should have been incredibly frightened. While everyone else thought there was something terrible inside, Ibb thought, "maybe it's something else." When she is summoned to the castle, she gets the chance to find out just who or what is inside. Until that very moment, no o Book Excursion ARC Review| Book Releases October 9th, 2018 There are instances when curiosity requires bravery. Considering that the townspeople thought the lone castle in the center of town held monsters, giants, and snakes, Ibb should have been incredibly frightened. While everyone else thought there was something terrible inside, Ibb thought, "maybe it's something else." When she is summoned to the castle, she gets the chance to find out just who or what is inside. Until that very moment, no one had ever tried to go in. The townspeople's fears had caused their imaginations to run wild and as a result, they'd never had the pleasure of meeting the seemingly recluse castle dweller. His name was William. His was the very last castle. He was hoping to have someone brave enough to take his place one day. Someone just like Ibb, who just so happened to have a great idea of her own. Ibb knew what it meant to have the love and care of family and friends and she was compassionate enough to care whether or not someone else got the chance to experience this feeling too. She proved herself to be just as brave as William had hoped AND thoughtful too. As we begin another school year and consider the lessons we want to teach and the ways we want our school community to grow not just in knowledge but in character, this is the sort of book you'll want to read with your students. Ibb is a good example of what it means to be kind to someone you don't even know. She could have chosen to follow the majority and let her fears get the best of her but she chose kindness and that was very brave indeed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    The very last castle stands in the middle of a small town. No one ever goes into the castle and no one ever comes out. A single guard looks out from the tower. The townspeople can hear noises coming from the castle. Some think it might be monsters, others think it could be giants or snakes. Ibb is a girl who lives in the town and thinks about the castle a lot. One day, she gathers her courage and knocks on the huge castle door, but no one answers and she hears a terrible hiss. Soon afterward, Ib The very last castle stands in the middle of a small town. No one ever goes into the castle and no one ever comes out. A single guard looks out from the tower. The townspeople can hear noises coming from the castle. Some think it might be monsters, others think it could be giants or snakes. Ibb is a girl who lives in the town and thinks about the castle a lot. One day, she gathers her courage and knocks on the huge castle door, but no one answers and she hears a terrible hiss. Soon afterward, Ibb gets an invitation to appear at the castle gate on Sunday. Ibb goes to the castle and is let inside where she discovers the source of the noises and forms a new connection with the man who lives there. Jonker’s first picture book is impressive. He uses a traditional picture book tone here built on wonder and curiosity. The incorporation of the various noises that emanate from the castle is a very nice touch, making the book all the more fun to share aloud. His writing is focused and tight and the story can be read both as a straightforward tale but also as an allegory for the walls we build in our lives. Pett creates a winning young heroine for readers, someone who firmly roots this book in the modern age with her backpack and school days. The juxtaposition between the ancient castle and the young girl works particularly well. The art is playful and the reveal of the interior of the castle is worth the suspense. A picture book worth exploring. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    There is a castle in the middle of the town that no one has ever been in! Everyone has a different idea of what might be inside, but no one has ever bothered to investigate the mystery. Until Ibb that is! Ibb wants to know what lies within. Courageously she rows across the mote and knocks on the door, only to hear intimidating hisses. Is her grandfather right? Are there snakes inside the castle? The very next day she receives an invitation to visit the castle and come inside. She meets the castl There is a castle in the middle of the town that no one has ever been in! Everyone has a different idea of what might be inside, but no one has ever bothered to investigate the mystery. Until Ibb that is! Ibb wants to know what lies within. Courageously she rows across the mote and knocks on the door, only to hear intimidating hisses. Is her grandfather right? Are there snakes inside the castle? The very next day she receives an invitation to visit the castle and come inside. She meets the castle guardian who reveals that he needs someone brave to take his place, he is the last person left in the castle. Ibb agrees, on condition that he open the gates to the town and that he make visits to the town as well. This is a clever book about a clever and brave little girl who ventures through thick walls that have kept people isolated for years. The message hidden within the story is quite obvious--don't believe of rumors or ignorance and challenge traditions that we take for granted. And definitely don't wall yourself in or other people out! The story also contains a great message about old people being left out. The illustrations are comic-like and keep these themes from weighing the story down. It remains light-hearted in a way that makes the reader feel that they are exploring a new idea and not being beat on the helmet. This is a great book for any library with a message that can be read and shared again and again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker. PICTURE BOOK. Abrams, 2018. $17.00. 9781419725746 BUYING ADVISORY: EL(K-3) – ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH Everyone in town is a bit afraid of the very last castle which despite being closed up- emits a variety of creepy sounds. Ibb is little girl who is curious about what could be going on in there. One day, she knocks, and soon finds herself invited inside. What she discovers surprises her and changes the town. This is a large book with great illustrations The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker. PICTURE BOOK. Abrams, 2018. $17.00. 9781419725746 BUYING ADVISORY: EL(K-3) – ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH Everyone in town is a bit afraid of the very last castle which despite being closed up- emits a variety of creepy sounds. Ibb is little girl who is curious about what could be going on in there. One day, she knocks, and soon finds herself invited inside. What she discovers surprises her and changes the town. This is a large book with great illustrations that could easily be shared with a large group. The story itself, I have seen many times, (spoiler), a lonely old man cooped up –an artist even, who finally learns it ok to be around others and share. I like that the book features sound and explanation for strange noises actually being normal things, this is a great lesson for young readers and a fun teaching tool for librarians and teachers about sounds used in literature. I think the cover is very appealing and would get many checkouts . Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author. https://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...

  14. 5 out of 5

    storymamas

    Ibb is an adventurous and kind girl. She often walks past the only castle left in her small town. One day her curiosity gets the best of her and she knocks on the door! She is greeted by an unfriendly surprise and she runs away, not speaking about it. Then not long after her visit she receives an envelope requesting her presence to the castle. Ibb accepts and begins to uncover and learn the truth about the castle. This story is sweet and our protagonist, Ibb is a girl who has a big heart, one wi Ibb is an adventurous and kind girl. She often walks past the only castle left in her small town. One day her curiosity gets the best of her and she knocks on the door! She is greeted by an unfriendly surprise and she runs away, not speaking about it. Then not long after her visit she receives an envelope requesting her presence to the castle. Ibb accepts and begins to uncover and learn the truth about the castle. This story is sweet and our protagonist, Ibb is a girl who has a big heart, one willing to take chances! Mark’s illustrations adds another wonderful layer to the book. This book can lead to conversations around giving people a chance and how being young doesn’t mean you can’t change or help with big things! . Also, it’s release around Halloween is a great time. I can see it being an inspiration for some castle themed stories! . Thank you Travis for sending us this book that the world will be able to enjoy on October 9th! .

  15. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    Have you ever noticed when there is only one of anything left, the value, real or imagined, increases? When you think you will never enjoy the sensory experience of tasting, touching, smelling, seeing or hearing it again, it's as if there is nothing quite as important as tasting, touching, smelling, seeing or hearing that one thing as much as possible. Without a doubt you find yourself wondering why you waited until there was only one remaining before you gave it the attention it so richly deser Have you ever noticed when there is only one of anything left, the value, real or imagined, increases? When you think you will never enjoy the sensory experience of tasting, touching, smelling, seeing or hearing it again, it's as if there is nothing quite as important as tasting, touching, smelling, seeing or hearing that one thing as much as possible. Without a doubt you find yourself wondering why you waited until there was only one remaining before you gave it the attention it so richly deserves. Perhaps this is why we need to protect and enjoy every detail of our lives, each and every day. The Very Last Castle (Abrams Books for Young Readers, October 9, 2018) debut picture book written by Travis Jonker with pictures by Mark Pett asks us to follow one very brave little girl. Not only does she ask questions, but she decides to find her own answers. My full recommendation: https://librariansquest.blogspot.com/...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura Mossa

    A young girl, Ibb, lives in a town where there is only one castle still standing, and a lone knight guards it. The knight never comes out and no one from town ever goes in. While most townspeople think terrible things are in the castle, Ibb thinks differently. After boldly knocking on the castle door (and then running away), she receives an invitation to visit. Ibb’s willingness to think differently and take a chance is a lesson to herself, the entire town and most importantly, us as readers. Tr A young girl, Ibb, lives in a town where there is only one castle still standing, and a lone knight guards it. The knight never comes out and no one from town ever goes in. While most townspeople think terrible things are in the castle, Ibb thinks differently. After boldly knocking on the castle door (and then running away), she receives an invitation to visit. Ibb’s willingness to think differently and take a chance is a lesson to herself, the entire town and most importantly, us as readers. Travis Jonker has written an uplifting story of a young girl’s curiosity and bravery and how her one simple act can change a community for the better. Mark Pett’s illustrations are equally beautiful; I especially Ibb’s unique sense of style with her big yellow boots and her backpack adorn with clip toys. The Very Last Castle is already on my list to share with students and teachers for #classroombookaday! Special thanks to Jenny Choy at Abrams Books for sending a copy for my #bookexcursion group to review. It will be released on October 9, 2018

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I've read a number of children's books lately, books replete with pictures, but only this one and the next truly piqued my interest. I liked this story and the pictures because they created a highly accessible combination. The people in the small town were drawn as a diverse group and the scenery drawings were friendly, colorful and filled with a bit of whimsy. The combination made for a story that pulled me in to its simple message of the importance of making the effort to get to know someone i I've read a number of children's books lately, books replete with pictures, but only this one and the next truly piqued my interest. I liked this story and the pictures because they created a highly accessible combination. The people in the small town were drawn as a diverse group and the scenery drawings were friendly, colorful and filled with a bit of whimsy. The combination made for a story that pulled me in to its simple message of the importance of making the effort to get to know someone instead of demonizing them. And how about the main character's name of Ibb! What a wonderful name that gives nothing away about this character, you simply have to read the book and get to know Ibb before you can make a judgement! (And that's the whole point. :-))

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amber Webb

    In the middle of a village stands the very last castle in existence. No one goes in and no one comes out meaning there are a LOT of questions that surround what is going on behind those walls. A young girl, Ibb listens to everyone's theories and even has a few of her own. She suddenly receives an invitation to the castle and in faith, responds to the request. What she finds and how she responds is an incredible lesson to all. In this story you will find the power of one child, the power of one a In the middle of a village stands the very last castle in existence. No one goes in and no one comes out meaning there are a LOT of questions that surround what is going on behind those walls. A young girl, Ibb listens to everyone's theories and even has a few of her own. She suddenly receives an invitation to the castle and in faith, responds to the request. What she finds and how she responds is an incredible lesson to all. In this story you will find the power of one child, the power of one assumption, the power of trust and taking a chance, the power of maybe... I absolutely loved this story and can't wait to share it with students next year. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy for #bookexcursion to review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ro

    Happy #BookBirthday to The Very Last Castle by @100scopenotes ! A story to explore giving the unknown a chance, getting to know something before we judge. Ibb is a brave&kind girl who won’t let other people’s opinions get in the way of making new friends & having new experiences. Ibb repeatedly thinks“Maybe it’s something terrible. Could it be something else?”May we all be as open minded as Ibb when faced with the unknown & give it a chance! I love her backpack covered with patches &a Happy #BookBirthday to The Very Last Castle by @100scopenotes ! A story to explore giving the unknown a chance, getting to know something before we judge. Ibb is a brave&kind girl who won’t let other people’s opinions get in the way of making new friends & having new experiences. Ibb repeatedly thinks“Maybe it’s something terrible. Could it be something else?”May we all be as open minded as Ibb when faced with the unknown & give it a chance! I love her backpack covered with patches & keychains, & her oversized boots! This story also brings young and old together, and how we can all learn from each other regardless of age, and the power of community. I’m so excited that a librarian is now an author, how cool is that?!?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    After seeing several tweets about the book (and having met Travis Jonker at nerdcamp), I was pleased to see that our public library already had this as an eBook, and was able to check it out immediately the day after its release. I really enjoyed what Travis wrote about the evolution of the book, the background tweets from the illustrator, Mark Pett, and the review from Margie-Myers Culver on her blog. I had already read it twice, but had still missed several details. I wonder if any students wil After seeing several tweets about the book (and having met Travis Jonker at nerdcamp), I was pleased to see that our public library already had this as an eBook, and was able to check it out immediately the day after its release. I really enjoyed what Travis wrote about the evolution of the book, the background tweets from the illustrator, Mark Pett, and the review from Margie-Myers Culver on her blog. I had already read it twice, but had still missed several details. I wonder if any students will wonder the same thing I did: how would the guard find out Ibb's name and address without interaction with someone else? Did she leave him a note?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    One last castle stands in the middle of town. Everyone makes guesses about what's inside but no one goes near it. One little girl, Ibb, sees the guard up on the turret. She decides to find out who is inside. She knocks but no one answers. Later, she receives an invitation to visit. She meets the guard and tours the grounds. The guard is getting old and needs someone to take his place. She agrees with a couple conditions - he comes out to visit in the town and invites the town people to come insi One last castle stands in the middle of town. Everyone makes guesses about what's inside but no one goes near it. One little girl, Ibb, sees the guard up on the turret. She decides to find out who is inside. She knocks but no one answers. Later, she receives an invitation to visit. She meets the guard and tours the grounds. The guard is getting old and needs someone to take his place. She agrees with a couple conditions - he comes out to visit in the town and invites the town people to come inside the castle.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book is about a castle in a town that is still standing and nobody knows why or who lived there. A great what if theme. Everyone speculates what is inside but only one character is willing to find out. Follow Ibb as she tries to find out amid warnings from her teacher, grandfather, and others to leave it alone. Read aloud to a child who is fearful of new things as this has a worthwhile ending.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    Cute! Met Travis Jonker at Book Expo the other day and got an ARC of this. I DESPISE having to do storytime but this is one I could deal with. My only complaint is that i wish it was like 10 pages longer. Very cute and precious with several lessons added in on the sly... I appreciate this and will keep it on the dreaded storytime shelf for when the time comes!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    What if we didn't take chances. What if we weren't curious? Jonker tells us the story of Ibb, a girl who lives in a small town that houses the very last castle. No one has ever been in there and everyone in the town has theories on what might be inside. Only Ibb has the courage to find out and what she discovers will benefit the whole town.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    Love this book by Travis Jonker (LIBRARIAN!!). A young girl notices that something is up with the only castle left in the land - and one that everyone else is afraid of. She soon learns that the guard is making the hiss (snake) noises when he waters the garden and the monsters are cut shrubs, etc. A bit didactic but warm and lovely nontheless.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christina (Ensconced in Lit)

    This is a beautiful story with a gentle but important message. I love that the protagonist is a POC, which makes it already racially diverse, and that she is the only one in the town to show bravery, which is just to knock on the door. Who knows, you might find a lonely old man and magic inside the very last castle. Adults and children will both enjoy this one!

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Bailey

    An awesome debut book by Travis Jonker. It is a magical story about overcoming your fears, not assuming the worse, and being curious. The artwork is fantastic and the story is loaded with great teaching points.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kevin W

    It sets itself up nicely, and resolves almost too easily. Pleasantly bright artwork. I can't help but feel this story got stuck trying to focus on its message more than the story itself, and the result is a bit unsatisfying (but only just).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Shout out to Zeeland, MI! Okay, now that I have that out of my system, this is brilliant. And I loved that I thought that I knew where it was going, but that I was wrong, but a bit. Thank you for embracing the unknown and the slightly different and the fantastical in this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shandra

    Super sweet story about a girl who wonders what's behind the gate of the last castle, until one day she decides to knock. She gets scared away before anyone answer, but then an invitation arrives in the mail... I think this would go well in a preschool storytime.

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